Helping to Reduce Labor Gaps with UTEC Online
Author: Adam DeLamielleure
Territory Manager from Michigan
During the Contractor Advantage Seminars this past year, I asked a question of the attendees. It was a simple question, but a telling one: “How many of you have a training system in place at your company?” I wasn’t expecting so few hands to go up; out of over 1,000 people, approximately 5-10% raised their hands. Although I was somewhat surprised and a little disappointed, I was encouraged because of what I was about to present.
That question took place at the beginning of a presentation in which I was introducing UTEC Online. UTEC Online is a library of free online training documents and videos, developed by Unilock to help educate the industry on the basics of hardscape installation. Through a series of training modules, the online participants can complete different courses and print certificates to mark their accomplishments. Topics include basic paver and retaining wall installation, as well as driveway design and considerations.
UTEC Online was very well received, but why?
The answer is simple – UTEC Online is necessary.
Regardless of your location, there are labor challenges. There are fewer people entering our industry each year, and the skillset of those that do, is often limited. To achieve sustainable success, we need to be able to train. However, many of us don’t have the time, resources, or patience to create training programs that can be easily implemented.
Most of us chose to work in the hardscape industry because we liked the outdoor work and gained satisfaction from what we created. We fought through challenging times to finally arrive to a growing and thriving industry. Unfortunately, the opportunity to reap the benefits of a healthy market is limited by the help we attract – and ultimately train.
Even though training is one of the many business essentials, we often lose sight of the importance of it in the heat of the busy season. Unilock has recognized that fact, and that’s why UTEC Online was developed.
So, why utilize UTEC Online in your business? The exact benefits of this training system will vary from company to company, but here are five common reasons:
- Everyone starts somewhere – Although less than desirable, there will be employees that join your organization that have little to no hardscaping expertise. UTEC Online is a perfect tool for onboarding these new employees and starting their training. Regardless of whether your new team members take the training at the office or at their home, UTEC Online is an effective source for building familiarity with the basic terms and techniques needed to install hardscapes properly.
- Benchmark and validate – There will be people that join your team backed by impressive resumes, and have—or speak of having—vast industry experience. However, as many of us know very well: a person may have experience installing hardscapes but that does not mean they know how install them correctly. UTEC Online can serve as a benchmark for gauging their level of education and knowledge, while verifying the validity of their experience.
- Hit the ground running in spring – In most markets, hardscaping is a seasonal business. UTEC Online can serve as an effective way to sharpen skills after a winter of downtime – a ‘spring training’ of sorts. As your team gears up in the beginning of spring, sit down together and review the UTEC Online modules. This will help create conversation and could ultimately strengthen your team and build momentum at the start of the season.
- Empower and grow – At some point, employees will approach their supervisor in hopes of securing a raise. This is even more likely to happen in times when labor is tight because employees can feel the need for increased help on the jobsite. UTEC Online can be used as a tool for incentivizing your workforce. For example, reward employees for completing UTEC Online modules with slight increases in their compensation. Using this approach will empower employees to manage their own training.
- Sell more projects – If you do implement regular use of UTEC Online within your company, you can use it as a competitive advantage. As you are selling a project and discussing why a client should choose your company over the competition, you can tell them that your crews are trained and have certifications from UTEC Online to prove it. This simple and free strategy for establishing increased credibility may just be enough to win the project.
Ready to get started? Log on today and see how you can use it for your team